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A Secret History of Race in America

Dec 04, Aminta Arrington rated it liked it. I couldn't bring myself to finish it. The "Invisible" part would be the authors themselves, who reveal absolutely none of their personalities, even conversations. AS a result, there is little to tie the book together but a series of vignettes. The writing was high-quality, the concept was great, but with absent authors, it just fell flat. I received this book from the publisher in a Goodreads giveaway.

We don't discriminate against our minorities" In Invisible China, Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson share an account of their travels in some of the most remote, least accessible, and most ethnically diverse areas of China. This is certainly an account - a travelogue. While certainly their journey was intentionally designed for them to spend time with the minority peoples who make up a signi I received this book from the publisher in a Goodreads giveaway. While certainly their journey was intentionally designed for them to spend time with the minority peoples who make up a significant proportion of China's population, the story they tell here is less the story of those peoples and more their story of visiting those peoples.

Invisible China is neither anthropology nor history; it includes history and anthropological observations made by well-studied individuals, but it is not an in-depth analysis of any of China's minority groups. I spent a majority of this book both surprised and impressed by how many opportunities the authors chose not to take to criticize and to judge China's actions as a state.

I wondered how it was that they came to write such an "agenda-less" book about such a potentially fraught topic. Reaching the end, I realized that Legerton and Rawson were not agenda-less, but that they truly did seem to want to let their readers come to their own conclusions.

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Throughout Invisible China, the authors introduce their readers to the people and the places that they love - and Legerton and Rawson do most certainly love China -and pull back from moments where they interpret what they see according to their own beliefs about the situation. They want their readers to see China as they have seen it and choose to love it as they have loved it. As you reach the conclusion of the book, however, you see that Legerton and Rawson do, in fact, have more to say than, "see China.

Legerton and Rawson's journey contradicts this statement in every way. Every group they encountered is marginalized in some way - whether overtly as they are excluded from educational and economic opportunity, or subtly as they are ignored and conflated with one another.

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All these ethnic groups The only difference is in the languages they speak" Ultimately, traveling through the ethnic borderlands of China reveals that Han China is obsessed with the cultural superiority of the Han and that propaganda to that effect "pervades the government's version of history" For anyone who wants to be introduced to the diversity present in China, this book is a good start.

The reader gets to meet the Uyghurs, Oroqen, Mongolians, Wa, and others, but since this book operates on an "awareness" or "introduction" level, it is up to the reader to go learn more. A budding interest in China or in ethnic diversity in general should find Invisible China to be a good companion. For the reader who already knows that these people exist, and furthermore, how they have been marginalized, this book offers little. Jan 28, Sharlene rated it liked it Shelves: This book had such potential! Just look at the synopsis: Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson, two Americans fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Uyghur, throw away the guidebook and bring a hitherto unexplored side of China to light.

The wonderful conversations they must have had? The sights they must have seen? Well we do get a sense of that. It did pique my interest in the many ethnicities of China though, and the bibliography they provide at the end might be a good way to start.

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I did learn quite a few things. For instance, did you know that there are 2 million Koreans living in China? Most of them live in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture where they speak Korean, retain their own culture, and attend their own schools. The North Korean government even owns and operates expensive North Korean restaurants there, to promote their culture and create an influx of foreign cash. And the Mosuo people, who live on the shores of Lugu Lake, belong to a matrilineal society. The women choose a male partner to visit her quarters, solely at night, for as long as she likes.

The resulting children are raised by his mother and uncles. The men however, continue to be in charge of business outside of the home. You know how that synopsis talked about the authors, Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson? Well I finished the book with absolutely no inkling about these two men. They seemed to be relatively fluent in languages, enough to converse with all kinds of people, but the reader end up having a better idea of the characters they meet than the two of them. It was kind of intriguing.

Was this intentional or were they really that colourless? Aug 03, Ethan Cramer-Flood rated it really liked it. This is a fantastic, entertaining, easy, and informative read. I guess you'd call this commercial non-fiction, though there are hints of journalism and academia buried in here as well. The gist is that two recent college grads from America with an impressive knowledge of the Mandarin, Korean, and Uygur languages set off across China to explore China's often invisible minority cultures. There are 56 official minorities in China, of which the authors were able to visit Doesn't sound like much, This is a fantastic, entertaining, easy, and informative read.

Doesn't sound like much, but it took them a year and many tens of thousands of miles on cramped buses, trains, and other less comfortable forms of travel just to spend a week or two with each of these groups. Although no one can claim that the Tibetans or Uygurs are invisible these days, most of the other minorities are either completely unknown to the West and to many Chinese , or are stuck in displaced limbo like the millions of ethnic Mongolians and Koreans whose ancestors ended up in China and who are expected to become "Chinese".

If China's minorities became their own country, they'd be the 10th largest nation on earth. Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson, two college buddies who wrote this book and are now working on their PhD's, are unlikely ever to be welcomed by the Party authorities in Beijing. In their travels they encountered more than one member of a minority that asked them hopefully whether or not the US was planning to invade China any time soon to set them free.

Although some minorities are much more oppressed and mistreated than others, almost none of them approved of their treatment at the hands of the central government or their place in society vis-a-vis the Han. Not all of them wished to be independent from China, and not all advocated a Western style democracy, but every last one of them would qualify for jail time if they spoke to government officials the way they spoke to Legerton and Rawson.

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This is an enlightening and illuminating book, and I hope there's a sequel. Aug 14, Colin rated it liked it. Legerton and Rawson paint an interesting, if somewhat superficial picture of the ethnic minority situation in China. As I went through the book, I was continually amazed at how frankly their subjects shared their views.

Reading over their bios, though, it is no surprise that they were able to communicate so well with these minorities. I'm also incredibly impressed that they covered so much ground and spoke with so many people in only four months - truly a feat. However, there is far more work to Legerton and Rawson paint an interesting, if somewhat superficial picture of the ethnic minority situation in China. However, there is far more work to be done in this area.

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A deeper understanding of exactly how and where ethnic minorities belong in China there are over million and they are growing is going to be crucial for not only China's stability, but the world's. As we've seen over the past few weeks, even - let alone months or years - the situation is precarious and it isn't just with the Uighurs and the Tibetans. Legerton and Rawson do a passable job of integrating the background into their narrative - but at the end offer only a few recommendations for moving forward.

Perhaps this is in part due to a wariness to anger the Chinese government - but if you're going to write about something you see as an injustice it does not only you as disservice as a writer, but your subjects as well. The writing was good, but not spectacular. A Gurkha story as well as war story, Under Contract chronicles not valor and glory, but poverty, human trafficking, and institutional racism.

It will prove a useful resource for anyone interested in international relations, migration, and conflict. Nepal's Maoist Insurgency, to His journey to understand the human ripple effects of the war in Afghanistan takes him to Nepal, India, Turkey, the Republic of Georgia, and the U.

A disturbing picture emerges: An important account of a new neoliberal mode of warfare, vital reading for anyone interested in military affairs, Afghanistan, migration, and globalization. Under Contract is one of the richest and most straightforward ethnographic accounts of war yet written.


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In focusing on the long and difficult paths of the contractors of the latest Afghan war, Coburn is the first to truly demonstrate the transnational and profit-driven nature of most modern war. How America Outsourced Our Security "In this highly readable and disturbing account of the American war effort in Afghanistan, Noah Coburn traces the complex transnational web that has snared individuals from various countries in the conflict. Nepal's Maoist Insurgency, to "With a vivid eye for detail, analytic lucidity, and compassion, Noah Coburn opens up a space between anthropology and investigative journalism.


  • The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White.
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Remote Control Warfare "An irreplaceable and beautifully written book. A Note on the Research. Excerpt from the Prologue.

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